The smell of barbecue in the air; a bright red tomato's juices traveling down the chin; and the fizz in the throat from the first swig of cold artisan beer on a hot summer day are all culinary experiences that are made in Tennessee. From food festivals to tours through wineries and breweries, here's a taste of what Tennessee's cookin' for the summer:
Get a taste of Tennessee's spirits while traveling through the Upper Cumberland area on the Wine, Shine, & Stein Tour June 13 and July 11 that begins at DelMonaco Winery. The ever-popular tour gives you a taste of wine, liquor, and beer at DelMonaco, Calfkiller Brewery, and Short Mountain Distillery all while giving information on how each is made. The tours sell out fast so advanced reservations are the norm. Call 931-858-1177 for a spot. Tickets are $35.
Foodies from around the nation flock to get a taste of Nashville and of Tennessee during Taste of Music City in Public Square Park. Tickets are $55 in advance and $65 at the door (if not sold out) and include a plethora of food and drink options to leave you full and satisfied with thirst quenched. From five types of macaroni and cheese from Dan's Gourmet Mac & Cheese to delectable, Italian food selections from MAFIAoZA'S Pizzariea and Neighborhood Pub to fresh meats and produce from Noelle, the festival provides a wide range of culinary choices. Wash it all down with beverages from Stonehaus Winery, Yazoo, Corsair Distillery and other companies providing liquor, wine and beer.
The very first Hops in the Hills will welcome local and regional craft beer brewers in downtown Maryville. From a Brew Crawl on Friday night (passes are $10) to seminars on "The Growing of Hops" and "Craft Beer 101," the event is more than just sampling refreshing ales and lagers. Get in touch with the town's rich history and enjoy outdoor adventures as Maryville is part of the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
One of summer's popular fruits, the tomato, has a few festivals held in its honor. Get your tomato fix atRipley's Tomato Festival in downtown Ripley. The small town pays homage to the farmers who grow this fruit on an annual basis. Expect lots of food, music, carnival rides, and tomato activities like tastings and a contest. The festival crowns its Tomato Festival Royalty with a beauty pageant and babies can compete for top honors during the Baby Crawling Contest.
The Grainger County Tomato Festival take place with a full schedule of crafts, music, artistic demonstrations, antique engines and tractors, and, of course, lots of tomatoes. The Famous Tomato Wars, Mater Madness 5K Run, and the festival beauty pageant will round out the activities in Rutledge.
If you like everything fried, head to Southern Fried Food & Sweet Tea Festival in McKenzie, Tennessee to get just that. From chicken to kudzu, tomatoes and pickles, this festival will fry practically anything. And, as the saying goes, "Anything is better fried," right? Wash down all that Southern fare with some of the best sweet iced tea. Craft booths, a children's area, local entertainment and artists' works will be on display. Contests for the best fried foods are also condu